updated 10:15 pm EDT, Wed October 19, 2011
ASUS Transformer Prime official Nov 9 with Tegra 3
ASUS CEO Jonney Shih took the stage at the AsiaD conference to tease the Transformer Prime, its sequel to its relatively hot-selling Eee Pad Transformer tablet. The 10-inch slate should be the first major tablet, if not tablet of any kind, to ship with NVIDIA's Tegra 3. The chip is considered the first real quad-core mobile processor and technically has a fifth core to handle low-level tasks.
Moving to the newer chip, as well as ASUS experience and competition with the iPad 2, has slimmed it down dramatically versus the original. The tablet itself now measures 8.3mm (0.33in) thick, and its signature notebook add-on is both much thinner and reminiscent of the Zenbook's MacBook Air-like design. ASUS claims a longer 14.5-hour battery, although that's most likely with the extra battery of the dock. Mini HDMI, an SD card slot, and USB give it full expansion.
More details of the Transformer Prime are due November 9. ASUS has already hinted that it would raise its baseline and set a $499 price.
At the same event, Shih also said the Padfone wouldn't show until early 2012. When it did, the unusual tablet and phone combination would most likely carry Android 4.0.
The existing Eee Pad Transformer, Eee Pad Slider, and MeMo should get Android 4.0 before the end of the year.
An unveiling of the Transformer Prime would come just seven months after the original and makes ASUS one of the more aggressive competitors in tablets. While it like most other Android tablet designers has struggled to get any traction versus the iPad, it has been one of the few successful for its size, shipping several hundred thousand a quarter. Unlike Acer, which has repeatedly hoped the iPad would go away and downplayed tablets, ASUS was quick to seize on them and unveiled several in January, although those it showed have taken several months to arrive. [via This is my next]